On the 10th and 11th December 2017, YPARD-Egypt participated in a workshop co-organized by the Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East & North Africa (AARINENA) and the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) in Hammamet, Tunisia, under the theme “Transforming AARINENA’s Capacity as a Multi-Stakeholder Futuristic Regional Forum for Research and Innovation for Development Tunisia”.
The workshop brought together around forty participants representing AARINENA’s agricultural research institutions and major stakeholders who worked extensively during the two days of the workshop to develop a strategy for the transformation of AARINENA through exploring future scenarios for the NENA region; diagnosing the current environment and situation of research and innovation in the region in light of the global trends; and assessing the different stakeholders needs and societal and global expectations from AARINENA. The President of AARINENA, Professor Azizi Dargouth, illustrated that it is crucial for AARENINA to continuously reform to best address and respond to the burgeoning global and regional challenges facing agricultural systems and research institutions in the NENA region.
The Executive Secretary of AARINENA, Professor Mohammed Ajlouni, further indicated that the association has since 1984 gone experienced several reforms to its constitution and governance structures; yet AARINENA’s partners believe that there is a need for structured diagnosis and reform of the Association in light of the role and impact AARINENA as a regional forum should have on shaping the future of the NENA region and realizing the SDGs.
Moreover, the facilitator of the workshop, Professor Iman Elkaffas, pointed out that in order to realize these reform goals, AARINENA in partnership with GFAR launched a collective action aiming at strengthening AARINENA’s capacity as a multi-stakeholder regional forum on research and innovation for development. This collective action is projected to result in the development and finalization of AARINENA’s new strategy and action plan toward 2035, and ultimately in contributing towards reforming and strengthening agricultural research and innovation systems, enhancing multi-lateral collaboration, and impacting development in the NENA region.
During the workshop, the participants identified and agreed on a shared futuristic image of AARINENA to integrate into the global and regional developments, needs and expectations. Based on that, they identified a strategic direction for AARINENA including structural and content changes towards transformation, and the enabling environment. During these discussions, YPARD representatives emphasized the crucial role that young people in the NENA region could play in the success of AARINENA’s transformation strategy and called for more consolidated actions among to support youth engagement into AARINENA’s reform processes.
Following this workshop, a representative committee of stakeholders including YPARD will be formed to develop the strategy of AARINENA towards 2035. The strategy review will take place through a second meeting of stakeholders in spring 2018, where the strategy will be finalized together with results framework, budget and action plan.
Picture credit: Assem Abu Hatab